Trade show season kicks off in fine style

What a great start to the garden industry trade show season this week's inaugural National Plant Show at Stoneleigh Park proved to be. As director-general of show organiser the HTA, David Gwyther notes in our report that the timing could not have been better to raise the profile of British plants.

As the rare advantage UK growers have enjoyed over the past two years thanks to a weak euro starts to slip - and uncertainty over the impact of heavy public sector spending cuts in the UK grows - British plant suppliers really need to seize the moment right now and make the most of every opportunity.

Horticulture Week's business management writer Leslie Kossoff notes in our interview with her this week on page 14, when it comes to exploiting export opportunities, there has been progress. UK growers can go further, she says, but and they need to move faster.

Meanwhile, it was good to see that a number of garden centres had arrived at this week's show with their whole teams. Indeed, chairman of the 120-strong Garden Centre Group Nicholas Marshall told HW before the show that he was hoping to take individual centre buyers from right across his network to the event.

Their presence in such numbers underlines the upsurge in garden centres sourcing from UK growers that has been seen over the past year.

And who could fail to be impressed by the entrants to the show's new plant awards. I had the great privilege to take part in the judging this year alongside former Notcutts director David Clark, consultant David Gilchrist, garden writer Graham Rice and HTA president and Scotsdale Garden Centre managing director Caroline Owen - and hence had the opportunity to look in detail at the new plants that had been entered.

So many had such immediate retail appeal you could literally picture them walking out of garden centre doors. Congratulations to all who entered for the work they are doing to keep improving the garden industry's product offering - and keep its customers inspired.

www.HorticultureWeek.co.uk/leader for recent leaders.


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